Wellness Wednesday: Men’s health awareness during No Shave November
It’s no secret that men don’t prioritize their health like women do. Why is that?
Health & Wellness Sponsor
Health and Wellness stories are made possible in part by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, a proud sponsor of Gig Harbor Now.
Every November, we recognize Men’s Health Month by participating in “No Shave November” and working diligently to educate our community through personal connections and social media platforms. Men’s health is incredibly important, yet it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
- “Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year.”
- “31 percent of men suffer depression in their lifetime.”
Do you believe that these statistics should be dismissed? We think not.
Not only do men seek less healthcare and face more health complications, but men’s health is not as regularly discussed. Seeking healthcare takes humility and awareness, which some men battle with. Attending a doctor’s visit for an ongoing concern can appear weak or unnecessary when it is actually one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health.
Men tend to be less open when it comes to discussing personal matters with their peers. This can sometimes make them feel isolated in their own challenges. However, when you initiate conversations on specific topics, you often discover surprising connections with others. We all face various struggles throughout our lives, and it’s truly eye-opening to hear about other individuals’ wellness journeys.
A survey by the Cleveland Clinic found that:
- Only 60% men get annual physicals
- More than 40% of men only visit the doctor when they believe they are dealing with a severe medical issue
- Over 50% of men said their health was not discussed
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States,” according to the National Cancer Institute.
While prostate cancer may not always present early warning signs, it’s important to be observant for the following symptoms:
- Difficulty urinating
- Changes in stream of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Unexplained weight loss
- Erectile dysfunction
The most effective way to treat prostate cancer is to catch it early before it has the chance to spread. This means it’s necessary to keep tabs on your body by observing how it looks and feels regularly. If you notice anything of concern, contact your primary care provider. It’s better to be safe than sorry — especially if something is causing you pain or discomfort.
General screenings are a great method of preventative action. These are recommended ages when individuals at average risk should be screened, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate screening recommendations for your specific health circumstances.
Annual physical exam: Yearly for all ages
Colorectal cancer screening: 45 years old
Cholesterol screening: 17 years old
“In 2021, men died by suicide 3.90 times more than women,” according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This staggering statistic identifies the prevalent lack of men’s mental health awareness. The rates have only increased over the years. They can be directly related to diagnosed and undiagnosed mental disorders, including (but not limited to) depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and eating disorders.
Men’s mental health has often been overshadowed by women’s, but we’re now witnessing a growing awareness and greater emphasis on preventive healthcare with expanding education. Men require our support, particularly in maintaining their mental and physical well-being. This approach is not only the most effective way to address issues as they arise but also to ensure overall health and well-being as they age.
How to support the men in your life
- Encourage them to see a primary care provider regularly and stay current on annual screenings.
- Encourage communication regarding mental and physical well-being as well as socialization and healthy activities.
- Discourage risky behavior and poor lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, smoking and poor diet.
- Advocate for resources in your community that support men with substance abuse, PTSD, and more.
We want the absolute best for the men in our lives, as we’re sure you can agree with. Join us in “No Shave November,” check in on the men you are close to, and start taking action in your own community.